Gayborhood News: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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gayborhood_smBy: Emily Scagel/TRT Assistant Editor–

Boston, MA
Grant received to educate gay men about domestic violence
The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project has received a $10,000 Verizon Foundation grant to support a program educating GBTQ men about domestic violence and the role they can play in responding to it. The campaign will aim to empower men to speak out against domestic violence, provide awareness and resources to the community and to educate them to act as a positive influence for other men.

LGBT organizations see increase in funding and donations
LGBT social justice organizations experienced a 17 percent revenue increase from 2010 to 2011 after several years of decline. The report, by the Movement Advancement Project, looks at the LGBT movement’s finances spanning 40 major LGBT organizations representing 69 percent of the budgets of all LGBTQ social justice organizations. Organizations are also seeing an increase in funding through individual donations. Despite gains, challenges were also named in the report, including that the revenue of anti-LGBT organizations still greatly outweighs that of LGBT organizations.

Fenway Health urges for more HIV Prevention Funding for gay men
Despite a disproportionate amount of HIV infections among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, MSM, funding for HIV prevention is directed toward heterosexuals and other at risk groups, found an analysis conducted by The Fenway Institute. Sources from The Fenway Institute state that prevention funding needs to be shifted to match the incidence data.

Chicago, IL
New book documents the role of gay print media
A new book gives a comprehensive overview of the past, present and future of gay print media. “Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America” contains essays, interviews and hundreds of news clips and images from mainstream and early gay publications and describes the critical role of the gay press. The book is available through Amazon.com, as well as Chicago’s Women & Children First Bookstore.

Elected officials announce vote for marriage equality
Illinois Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans have announced that they will call for a vote soon regarding the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. The Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal stated that by bringing this marriage bill to a vote, they have brought hope to thousands of same-sex couples in Illinois, and it is encouraging that elected officials agree with the freedom to marry.

Des Moines, IA
Lawsuit filed to permit same-sex parents listed on birth certificate
The Iowa Supreme Court heard Lambda Legal’s lawsuit that is seeking an accurate birth certificate to all children born in Iowa to same-sex married parents. In the case presented, Iowa’s Department of Public Health denied a request for both lesbian spouses to be listed as parents on the birth certificate of their daughter. All other states that permit same-sex couples to marry, or enter civil unions or domestic partnerships, issue birth certificates to children of same-sex couples on the same terms of those of different-sex couples.

Montgomery, AL
Alabama ruling to stop segregating HIV prisoners
A federal judge ordered a stop to segregating Alabama prisoners with HIV. The ruling stated that the practice violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and that this discriminates against the prisoners and denies them equal access to rehabilitative programs. The decision also bans the state’s policy of requiring HIV-positive prisoners to wear white armbands to alert others of their status.

New York, NY
LGBTQ- and ally-centered YouTube channel to debut
A new gay-centered YouTube channel will launch to specifically target an LGBT and like-minded audience, and will feature weekly short series. Gwist, TV With a Gay Twist, is designed to appeal to anyone who enjoys a gay sensibility. Gwist will also incorporate Google+ Hangouts into programming.

Providence, RI
Marriage bills introduced in House and Senate
House Rep Arthur Handy, as well as Senator Donna Nesselbush, have introduced bills in the House and Senate that would legalize marriage equality in Rhode Island. Handy has released a statement saying that he is confident the bill will pass and that it is overdue. The House is committed to voting by the end of January.

South Lyon, MI
Teacher suspended for playing anti-harassment song
A middle school teacher has been suspended for playing a song that discussed the harassment faced by gay youth. The song was played during an eight-grade performing arts class, by request of a student. The teacher was suspended for three days and had pay withheld for two. Equality Michigan, the only LGBT anti-violence and advocacy organization in the state, is investigating the matter further and stated that they will make sure that diversity and love is taught over intolerance and hate.

Washington, D.C.
LGB hate crimes are second most frequently committed
Crime statistics released by the FBI show that for the first time, crimes based on sexual orientation are the second most frequent hate crime committed. The number of reported hate crimes committed against gay men and lesbians increased from 1,277 to 1,293, surpassing crimes committed on the basis of religion, and falling only after crimes based on race. The HRC president stated that this is a reminder that even though strides are being made toward equality under the law, LGBT people still face dangers in America. The FBI will begin collecting data on hate crimes committed on the basis of gender identity in 2013.

Report documents services provided to LGBTQ students in college career centers
Career centers in higher education are improving in providing services to LGBTQ students, but there is still much work to be done, according to OUT for Work’s 2013 Career Center Certification Report. The findings indicate that only 3 percent of the career centers surveyed earned an A+ Gold ranking, out of A+ Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze. The assessment, completed by 158 college career resource centers, is intended to gauge the current career tools, resources and programs accessible to LGBTQ students through campus career centers.

Supreme Court to hear cases against Prop. 8 and DOMA
The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the Hollingsworth v. Perry case that challenges California’s Prop. 8, as well as the Windsor v. United States case against the Defense of Marriage Act, the discriminatory ban on federal recognition of married same-sex couples. The HRC president stated that this is a milestone for equal justice under the law, and that this announcement gives hope that a landmark Supreme Court ruling for marriage will be seen this term.

Tobacco use disparities addressed in new report
Grassroots efforts have been working to fight LGBT targeting by tobacco companies. A new report released by Legacy focuses on these efforts, and explores the continuous disparities in tobacco use between LGBT people and the general population. The report, Tobacco Control in LGBT Communities, also explains Legacy’s role in addressing this population’s needs and details case studies of successful interventions. According to the American Journal of Public Health, LGBT people smoke cigarettes at rates 70 percent higher than the general population.

GOP called upon to stop funding DOMA
The nation’s LGBT leaders have called upon the House GOP to stop funding the Defense of Marriage Act, which costs taxpayers millions of dollars. The letter sent to the House Republican leadership stated that with more states allowing same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses, DOMA creates burdens on tax-paying citizens. A 2004 report from the Congressional Budget office estimated that federal individual income and estate tax revenues would increase $700 million per year if DOMA was not in place, and recent polling from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found that most Americans oppose DOMA and the Republicans’ court defense of it.

ACLU warns against National Defense Authorization Act
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision that insists the military accommodate moral principles and religious beliefs of all armed forces members. The president did acknowledge that this provision is unnecessary and ill-advised. The director of ACLU Washington cautioned that the language of this provision was too broad and could lead to claims of a right to discriminate, not only against LGBT people.

West Point, NY
West Point Cadet Chapel holds first same-sex wedding ceremony
The first same-sex wedding ceremony at West Point Cadet Chapel has been held between an Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, board member and her partner. The pair stated that West Point holds special significance to them, and to be able to legalize their union there is very important.